UAE Clamps Down On The Internet

from the that's-not-going-to-work dept

As we recently discussed, the world is seeing what amounts to a global clamp down on internet freedom, spurred in part (but not entirely) by the various revolutions that have occurred in the Arab World over the past several years. Having said that, not all restrictive censoring governments are created equal. While we in the West have our censors and internet detractors too, one need only look at what is occurring in China, Thailand, or Saudi Arabia for that matter to see how fearful some governments are of an internet in which free ideas are exchanged.

So let's go ahead and add the United Arab Emirates to that list as well, as they enact new laws designed to prevent critics of their President (don't be fooled, this is a monarchy), assembly of protest, and a host of other freedoms.
The decree outlines new protections for the state and its rulers, effectively turning online criticism into an offense punishable by years of jail time, or deportation for foreign nationals. The decree “stipulates penalties of imprisonment on any person publishing any information, news, caricatures or any other kind of pictures that would pose threats to the security of the state and to its highest interests or violate its public order,” according to WAM.
Classic authoritarian move. This is somewhat similar to what we've seen in China, as well, and I imagine it will work nearly as well (meaning in large part it won't). That said, there's been a demonstrably different reaction, or at least a difference in the scope of the reaction, in the Arab world. Perhaps that is why, while China has maintained its Great Firewall all this time without massive violent backlash, the Arab World certainly cannot claim the same. Obviously the Arab Spring was about much, much more than laws governing the internet, but those draconian laws are certainly a symptom of the greater disallusionment. While I understand the fear these monarchs have of the internet, there's no denying they are afraid.
Lately, there are signs of trouble all across the Arabian Peninsula. The implementation of strict new rules, like UAE’s new internet clampdown, shows that the monarchies are not blind to the simmering dissent around them. Nowhere is this clearer than in Bahrain, a constitutional monarchy that saw the largest unsuccessful protest on the peninsula last year. Saudi troops helped to quash those demonstrations, but the underlying problem -- a lack of fair political representation -- has not been addressed.
I would suggest that you're going to see more revolution in the Middle East as the curtailing of freedom out of fear by governments, such as the UAE's new internet law, continues. When you fear people who are angry about the government not representing them, further silencing those people will only further incense them. Thus far, some of these oil-rich monarchs have survived, occasionally propped up by the West. Fortunately, as the dependency by the West, particularly America, on Middle East oil continues to drop, there will be less reason to help these governments resist their own people.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    lancguy (profile), Nov 15th, 2012 @ 9:13pm

    Do they know exaclty what is using up half the space?!?

    Come on people, unlike android or iOS, the surface includes a copy of Office! The Surface is the only tablet that includes a copy of fully functional Office. That alone takes up a ton of space.

    Personally, I don't see how this should be a lawsuit. The device itself comes with a specified amount of memory. The OS takes up so much space, the applications take up additional space. If you want more space, simply uninstall something. I just got my Nokia 920 and was able to easily uninstall the bloatwear from AT&T and Nokia. Plus, I'm pretty sure that the EULA requires arbitration and denies any hope of class action.

    This is the problem with our legal system....there is no common sense sometimes. I've never bought a device, laptop, or computer under the assumption that I'd actually have the full amount of advertised hard drive space available on startup. Don't get me wrong, class actions should have a place in our legal system, but this is just stupid!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:03am

      Re: Do they know exaclty what is using up half the space?!?

      I, too, think that half-full tablets may cause further unrest in the UAE, and I think the President would be correct to imprison Microsoft for fomenting unrest.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:20am

      Re: Do they know exaclty what is using up half the space?!?

      I think you're on the wrong thread.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    vegetaman (profile), Nov 15th, 2012 @ 9:19pm

    Quote time...

    Paraphrasing a quote I have heard a couple of times that I think rings true in all of these censorship discussions (and if somebody knows the original quote or why it was by, please let me know)...

    "You can measure your freedom by seeing exactly who and what you aren't allowed to criticize."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 11:45pm

    Leave the internet alone!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 11:51pm

    the fear all nations have now of the people is very real. the biggest problem for the people is that the majority of the governments of those nations have no qualms about ordering military assaults on their own people in order to maintain control. that in itself breeds fear from the people and sooner or later there will be severe consequences resulting in clashes with government forces. once a government goes down this road, deep shit is close behind

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:06am

    Remember everyone:

    Regulating a true communication portal like phones: ok.

    Regulating something that is predominantly used for commerce and making money; aka, the Internet: not ok.

    Thanks!

    Yours truly,
    Google

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:01am

      Re:

      What?

      Phones are becoming less of a true communication portal.
      I don't even have a phone line in my house and I communicate with most people via email.

      The internet is predominantly used for communication, that is what it was designed for you idiot!

      Also this kind of regulation is actually censorship, it would be like recording every phone call and arresting people if they bad mouthed the king, who is an arsehole by the way!

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      Remember everyone:

      Regulating a true communication portal like phones: ok.

      Regulating something that is predominantly used for commerce and making money; aka, the Internet: not ok.


      There is medicine you can take that keeps you here in the real world as opposed to fantasy land. You might want to look into getting some.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:59am

    Typical Government

    While this sort of reaction is insane as a rational act of government, this assumes that governments are built on a rational basis. In practice politics and governments are built on political beliefs, even if this is simply the right to rule. Criticizing beliefs gets one labeled as a heretic, and where the power is available to the religion, steps are taken to suppress the expression of heretical ideas.
    Revolutions often fail to address the real issues because their leaders have their own string belief, and a revolution often only changes the belief system, rather than installing a less authoritarian government.

     

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    Kevin (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:03am

    Global

    Name one Government that doesn't want to control the Internet and I'll move that country tomorrow.
    I'm safe as there isn't any.
    The whole thing was designed to prevent anyone taking full control over it. That was it's beauty.
    So now counties can only control elements of the Net by law and various filters and boy are they all trying.
    I applaud the creators.

     

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    nasch (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Disallusionment?

    a symptom of the greater disallusionment

    What is that, not making references to things?

     

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    identicon
    Carol, Nov 18th, 2012 @ 12:17am

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